BOSTON It has taken Gerald Green two years, four NBA teams, two trips to Russia and one to China to make it back to where it all began in Boston.
On Friday night, Green was at the TD Garden on a 10-day contract with the New Jersey Nets as they took on the Celtics.
Green was drafted by the Celtics in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft. After two seasons, he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of the Kevin Garnett trade. Green had stints with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks before leaving the league and playing basketball overseas.
He has been trying to work his way back ever since.
"It was tough because this is the greatest league in the world," Green, now 26, said before the Celtics' 107-94 win. "So if youre not here its kind of like youre just lost."
Green joined the Los Angeles D-Fenders this season and captured the NBA D-League All-Star Game MVP title during All-Star Weekend in Orlando. He signed a 10-day contract with the Nets on Monday. With everything happening so quickly, he never had a chance to retrieve his belongings from Los Angeles and went shopping for new clothes in New Jersey.
He hopes to make the most of this opportunity and establish a place in the league he entered at the young age of 18.
"I think if I had known the stuff that I know now, things would probably be a lot different," he said. "Sometimes its not the mistake you make. Its when you know that you made a mistake and you correct it and not try to do it again."
He continued, "Going out of high school was the best thing for me I think because youre not going to get any better development than the NBA. I just dont think I prepared myself the right way like I should have professionally. If I had been a better professional at a young age, I probably wouldnt be in this situation. But hey, I think thats whats making me grow into a bigger person and a better person now because I learned from my mistakes."
Green scored 11 points off of 5-for-10 shooting in 24 minutes against the Celtics. He is one player Cs head coach Doc Rivers is happy to see succeed on the opposing team.
"I think theres still a very good chance for Gerald Green," Rivers said. "He was just so young when he was here. Hes skilled. I think people just looked at Gerald and saw this freak athlete that won the Dunk Contest. Gerald can make shots. He can really shoot the basketball. He just hadnt been taught how to play basketball and its a gift. So Im just hoping it works out for him. It would be a terrific story."